All these items should be discussed with the venue vendor way in advance, but oftentimes there is miscommunication, especially with hotel venues where the sales team’s main concern is just to close the sale without passing on this information to the banquet manager in charge. So here is a list of things that your coordinator should run through with the banquet manager on your wedding day. For an evening reception, your coordinator should meet with them ideally no later than 3pm, followed by the sound rehearsal. Remember to call in advance to arrange the time.
Make sure all the tables and their numbers have been arranged the way it was given in your final floor plan.
Give the banquet manager a copy of the floor plan with all the special requests including baby chairs and vegetarian meals. If you have a helper’s table, where the food shouldn’t be cleared away so your helpers can eat whenever they are able to, inform the banquet manager of this as well.
Make sure there are clear signs with the bridal couple’s names on them, especially if you are in a venue that is hosting more than one wedding.
The number of registration tables and helpers that you will need depends on your guest list and whether you have more friends or family members. This should already have been discussed in advance, so make sure all the tables that you requested, including for a dessert bar and the guestbook table (if necessary), have been set up.
If you need any help from the venue – such as placing your wedding favours, for example – you can also inform the banquet manager, who will inform the staff.
Remind the banquet manager of the alcohol arrangements. If you need all the empty bottles counted to keep an account of how much alcohol was consumed, mention this to them, and repeat it to the person in charge of the bar later. Some coordinators go to the extent of signing each bottle. If you need to hold the alcohol until the food is served, which is common practice to prevent the alcohol from running out too early, inform the banquet manager too.
Print out a few copies of the dinner reception itinerary for the staff, and indicate when you want things to start or if you want the serving of food to be paused at any point. If the sound and lights guy can be present that would be great, but they normally come later, which means you will have to brief them separately.
The starting time is very unpredictable yet crucial. Set a time and ask the banquet manager to come and check with you to see if they can start in 15 minutes because that is the time needed to heat up the food. At that time, you can check if the couple is ready and whether 70% of the guests have arrived. If the answer is yes, go ahead.
Please remind the banquet manager to leave extra champagne glasses at the side if the staff cannot fit all the glasses into a high champagne glass tower. You would rather have them be confident about what they are doing than to have the tower crashing down on the day. Alternatively, you could also ask your friends who are doing the toast to bring their own glasses.
Always write down names – besides writing a letter of complaint when things are not up to par, you should also remember to give credit where it is due. More often than not, banquet managers are very helpful and accommodating despite not knowing all your requests. Most service industry vendors promote their staff based on guest reviews, and we believe that feedback is the best way to aid improvement.